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Fla. police recruit dies after collapsing during training

Thomas Coulter died Monday morning after he collapsed about 8 a.m. Friday during a jogging and walking exercise

Duty Death: Thomas Coulter - [Daytona Beach, Florida]

End of Service: 05/21/2018


By Frank Fernandez
The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A 25-year-old Daytona Beach police recruit who had always dreamed of being a police officer died after collapsing less than a week after achieving his dream.

Thomas Coulter died Monday morning after he collapsed about 8 a.m. Friday during a jogging and walking exercise, which included stops for pushups and stretching, Chief Craig Capri said during a press conference Monday morning.

Coulter was taken to Halifax Health Medical Center on Friday and appeared to be recovering before his condition worsened on Saturday and continued to deteriorate until he died about 4:30 a.m. Monday, Capri said.

"This young man, all he wanted to do was be a police officer," Capri said. "Talking with the family he wanted to be a police officer. That was his life's dream, since he was a little kid. That was his goal and he did meet his goal."

The chief said Coulter had not complained of feeling ill before he collapsed during the training around Lake Valor outside the Police Department. Coulter was talking after he collapsed, Capri said.

But he was subsequently intubated at the hospital, although Capri said he was able to be aware of people around him and squeeze his wife's hand.

Coulter had passed a physical exam before he was hired. Capri said Coulter was in average shape for a 25-year-old.

Capri said he hopes the autopsy will provide some answers as to what happened.

 

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Posted by Daytona Beach Police Department on Monday, May 21, 2018

He said exercises were not considered strenuous and Coulter had just started the training on May 14 with 23 other recruits and three trainers.

The training was designed as team building and would go as fast as the slowest person, Capri said.

"They just started," he said.

This is the first time the department has had a recruit die during training, he said.

Counseling was available for Coulter's fellow recruits, who were given Monday off but will return to the training Tuesday.

Coulter had always dreamed of being a police officer, Capri said.

Coulter was originally from New Jersey but had moved to the area and married his high school sweetheart about six months ago, Capri said. Their home is in Daytona Beach and they had no children.

Coulter will receive full police honors., Capri said.

In a Facebook post, Coulter's wife, Jazmin Olsen-Coulter, expressed her pride in her husband and vowed to keep her promise to him.

"I am so proud of everything you've accomplished. I promise you I will become a doctor just like you promised me you would become a police officer. You kept your promise, I am going to keep mine."

©2018 The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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